When dealing with water damage to your home or business, it doesn’t matter if the spill is large or small. The basic goal is always the same, to clean up the water and dry everything out. This should be done as soon as possible after the damage has occurred. The water is continuing to cause problems for as long as it stands, and more serious issues such as mold are only about 48 hours away. It is imperative that you act quickly. NYC Water Damage Restoration has some nice tips on this.
Of course acting quickly does not mean acting ignorantly. Much of what is required to properly address water damage can be taken care of right now, before disaster strikes and leaves you hip deep in raw sewage. Taking the time to make sure your insurance covers water related problems is wise. Remember that if the problem can at all be traced back to homeowner negligence, then it will not be covered.
You can also rearrange your home to be more prepared in the event of a flood or other water damage event. Move appliances and valuable items to higher floors, an elevate power outlets and electrical boxes to higher wall positions. Of course none of this will guarantee less damage to your home, but then it can’t hurt either.
Water damage restoration is an involved, multi-layered process, consisting of certain steps that must be taken in a certain order to ensure success. Failure to do so will result in some of the subsequent problems listed above.
Whatever the size of the spill, the process can be broken down into four basic steps:
Water Extraction – this is the process of removing the excess water from your property, and is typically done through the use of a wet-dry vacuum unit or gas powered submersible pump. No electrical pumps should be used, and do not attempt to use your regular vacuum cleaner to remove water. You’ll only end up buying a new vacuum. Trust me on this.
If the flooding is in your basement, be careful not to pump the water out too quickly. This can result in sudden pressure changes that may weaken you basement walls, making them prone to collapse. Pump the water out at the rate of about 1/3 a day. Most of the water may be removed through the water extraction process.
Secondary Drying – once the excess water is out, surfaces may appear dry, but a cursory touch will reveal that they are not. They will retain a significant amount of water, and the only way to dry it out is through the circulation of air. Open all windows and doors to get air moving through the home. Bring in a number of high velocity fans and blowers (the more the merrier) and dehumidifiers to help the process along. Move the units around every few hours to ensure total drying coverage, and allow a couple of days for the process to complete.
Repair – this involves the cleaning and repair of any and all items damaged by water, and may be the single most time consuming step in the process. Damaged items should be removed from the area and repaired elsewhere. They may require cleaning, and in some cases, disinfecting. In cases of sewage based water damage, it may become a matter of deciding what can be salvaged and what should be thrown out.
Restoration – this is the process of taking care of the fine detail elements designed to return your home to its pre-loss condition. At this point the home is ready to welcome its inhabitants back.
Of course the process may be much more difficult than described, especially in larger cases of water damage, but the overall concept and direction remains unchanged. The process may also take place over a period of days or even weeks, again, depending on the size. The scope of the project alone makes it beyond the abilities of most homeowners.